Clever Carly: What Women and Men Value at Events

Research shows gender can shape the attendee experience

Hello, dear planners!

We’ve all heard that phrase, “It’s a man’s world.” But I’d like to think when it comes to meetings, that’s not true. Events are about people, no matter the gender (or race, religion and so on—but that’s another article in and of itself!). And part of creating people-centric meetings is knowing that no two attendee experiences are the same, and that the very things that make people different, including gender, can affect satisfaction.

Case in point: A recent report from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), called “Gender Differences and Similarities,” surveyed business-to-business (B2B) events by gender—and there was, in fact, a significant difference between what men and women said they want from events. Although the research is B2B meetings-specific, there are some lessons that can apply to all events. 
Among the key findings:

Women prioritize learning …

About 92 percent of women say they attend meetings to keep up-to-date on industry trends. Personal development, idea generation and improving job performance—all areas that are related to education and growth—are also among top objectives.

… While men place more importance on making connections.

Learning is important for men, too, but it comes much lower on the priority list. Men’s biggest motivation for attending is maintaining relationships with suppliers and prospecting for new ones.

Both genders love to shop.

Good news for Promote events: About 99 percent of women and 97 percent of men come to meetings to shop around. 

Women place more emphasis on the experiential—for now.

Almost 90 percent of women said an important reason to attend events is the experience, whereas only 69 percent of men felt the same. That said, the report also predicts that experience will soon be top-ranked for both genders.

So, how can this information help you plan better events? 

For one, having a better understanding of what your audience wants can reveal what meeting elements might be worth a bigger investment. Devoting more funds to creating an immersive, experiential event, for instance—something that the research dictates attendees want—can have a big payoff. Your meeting will likely resonate deeper with guests, be more memorable and build attendee loyalty.   

It also offers perspective as to how planners can better market meetings. For example, because learning is a top priority for many attendees, consider creating marketing materials that play up your event’s educational opportunities.

At the end of the day, just as every meeting has a purpose, there’s a clear motivation behind why each attendee decides to take part in your meeting. And before they even step through the door, it’s your job to find that meaning and deliver. 

Until next time.

Plan well,
Clever Carly